5 innovations revolutionising construction

21 September 2017 Kingspan Group
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New technologies are constantly changing the face of modern construction. New, faster processes are superseding the older ones and paving the way towards a futuristic reality.
 
But why is this occurring? Why are innovations and new technologies beginning to change the once stagnant procedures of construction?
 
Growth in emerging markets, especially in developing countries, is set to skyrocket within the next 10 years. This will lead to increased development within the construction sector with an emphasis being placed on multi-purpose high-rises and skyscrapers.
 
However, developers are often met with challenges that are becoming increasingly difficult to overcome. Among them are lack of funding and finding skilled workers.
 
As the population of the world’s urban areas is increasing by almost 200,000 per day, the demand for safe, affordable housing increases with it. This puts further pressure on development firms to deliver these structures.
 
New technologies can help alleviate some of these issues. Often, these are cost-effective, time-saving and sustainable, making them a valuable resource for developers.
 
Here we look at 5 innovations that are revolutionising the construction industry:
 

1. 3D Printed Structures

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3D technology can reduce project delays and enhance the quality of buildings, which in turn improves building safety and sustainability.
 
MX3D, a company developing innovative 3D print technology, is in the middle of constructing the world’s first 3D printed bridge, which will run across the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam.
 
The bridge is being printed in a warehouse and will effectively drop into place when completed.
 
Back in 2014, MX3D invented an affordable, multiple axis 3D printing tool. This has since been combined with an advanced welding machine, which is capable of printing metals in mid-air.
 
With its bridge project, MX3D wants to showcase how digital fabrication can be used to construct functional, durable structures.
 

2. Drone Technology to take flight on sites

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One transformative effect of new technologies is their ability to save both money and time, which has huge appeal for developers.
 
According to a recent report, full-scale digitalisation in non-residential construction will, within the next decade, be able to produce annual global cost savings of over $1 trillion. But where do drones fit into this?
 
Drones can be used to quickly survey building sites and generate maps or plans. Their ability to produce accurate data in half the time of traditional methods is proving popular among developers, as they no longer need to rely on cumbersome machinery and expensive surveying tools.
 

3. Using VR to clarify designs

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VR and augmented reality help to engage stakeholders, by clarifying design ideas and highlighting progress throughout a project.
 
They also help to reduce the time that operators and surveyors spend in high-hazard areas, offering health and safety solutions to developers too.
 
As part of its impressive global expansion, Starbucks Japan have recently started using VR technology to bring locally inspired architectural designs to their stores.
 
BIM (Building Information Modelling) data is converted into VR content, which can then be viewed through a VR headset making it easy to share plans and designs with builders, operational staff and architects.

4. Data management tools

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Data measuring software can increase the utilisation of equipment across any firm and identify cost-savings.
 
Although analytics have existed within the sector for years, industry specific data software is now coming to the fore.
 
Kingspan Sensor is a data measuring and monitoring tool, which can provide key data reports for fuel, liquids, materials and cold storage environments. Data on materials is sent from remote transmitters on-site to devices by email or SMS drawing immediate attention to low supplies.

5. Digital tools to predict building performance

The digitalisation of certain processes can improve the build-time of projects and help developers meet deadlines as it can cut out unnecessary testing.
 
Predictive software allows engineers to see how a building, and the parts that go into its development, perform under certain conditions.
 
This type of testing was carried out on the arch rotation brackets at Wembley Stadium. Structural analysis software was used to simulate how the brackets would fair under varying degrees of stress, giving engineers a better idea going forward with their plans.
 
Kingspan started over 50 years ago with a simple mission – to always work to make buildings better. Problem solving is at the heart of our innovative design and manufacturing processes.

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